OLDSMOBILE AND RAY TOP SPEED CHART ON DAY 2 IRL Aurora V8s Turn Nine Fastest Times in Second Day Practice INDIANAPOLIS, May 16, 1999 - Rising temperatures produced slightly slower speeds in the second day of practice for the 83rd Indianapolis...
OLDSMOBILE AND RAY TOP SPEED CHART ON DAY 2
IRL Aurora V8s Turn Nine Fastest Times in Second Day Practice
INDIANAPOLIS, May 16, 1999 - Rising temperatures produced slightly slower speeds in the second day of practice for the 83rd Indianapolis 500, but Oldsmobile and Team Menard driver Greg Ray continued to set the pace at the Brickyard. Ray turned the fastest lap of the day at 225.124 mph in Menard's Glidden Oldsmobile Dallara. He also ran the third fastest lap in his backup car at 224.411 mph. Arie Luyendyk was the meat in the Menard sandwich with the second fastest lap at 224.674 mph.
* Oldsmobile engines turned the nine fastest speeds and powered 37 of the 40 car/driver combinations that practiced on Day 2. Thirty-one Oldsmobile drivers completed a total of 1,574 laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Two Nissan drivers ran a total of 164 laps.
* The view from the top: The roster of Oldsmobile racers at the top of the speed chart was shuffled slightly on the second day of practice. Scott Goodyear was fourth fastest in Pennzoil Panther Racing's backup Oldsmobile G-Force at 222.750 mph. Scott Sharp stepped up with a 222.288 mph lap in Kelley Racing's Delphi Automotive Systems Oldsmobile Dallara, and reigning Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack turned an identical speed in A.J. Foyt's Power Team Oldsmobile Dallara. Tony Stewart, Jeff Ward, and Sam Schmidt were seventh through ninth respectively. Eddie Cheever, Jr. was the fastest Infiniti driver in tenth place at 221.582 mph, more than 3.5 mph off Ray's pace.
* Ray of Light: "Under the conditions, we're very pleased with running 225's and 224's," said Greg Ray. "Late in the day, we went out with our new car and full tanks in race trim with a race engine and we were running 223's easily. That's a good feeling."
Ray's IRL Aurora V8 engines are assembled by Team Menard's in-house engine department headed by Butch Meyer, grandson of three-time Indy 500 winner Louis Meyer.
* He's Back: Tony Stewart, the 1996-97 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion, returned to the Speedway as an owner/driver. Stewart is a principal in the new Tri Star Motorsports team with Larry Curry, his former crew chief at Team Menard, and Andy Card. Stewart missed opening day practice while competing in a NASCAR Winston Cup race in Richmond, Va., but he made up for lost time when he turned the seventh fastest lap on Sunday at 222.091 mph. Stewart was driving a brand-new Dallara powered by an IRL Aurora V8 built by Brayton Engineering of Coldwater, Mich.
"After running 400 laps last night and getting back to Indianapolis at three in the morning, the No. 1 thing I wanted to do was sleep!" Stewart joked. "We wanted to shake down the new car and make sure we got in a good, solid first day. I haven't driven a car here since last September, and you wonder what it's going to be like getting back in the cockpit. We haven't even had to worry about motor problems."
* Rocky Start: 1998 Indy 500 polewinner Billy Boat had a close encounter of the concrete kind when he crashed A.J. Foyt's Dallara in Turn 1. Boat walked away, but the car appeared to be a write-off.
"I hadn't run this setup before, and it just jumped out on me and got away," said the disappointed driver. "It was an absolute brand-new race car, and that's what makes it difficult."
After a long association with Oldsmobile engine builder Katech, Inc., of Clinton Township, Mich., Foyt's team has switched to IRL Aurora V8 engines from Roush Technologies in Livonia, Mich.
* Today's Aurora Factoid: The pistons in an Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 travel 5.78 inches up and down in their cylinders with each crankshaft revolution. In one lap around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, each piston travels 2.5 miles around the track and more than six tenths of a mile up and down in its cylinder.